The NomadMania Travel 2023 Awards were innovative in more ways than one. It was our first time presenting them live. That on its own would be a challenge; but to have them in war torn Ukraine, with safety as an additional concern, made this a logistic challenge of the highest degree.
And as with everything NomadMania, we were not going to compromise on quality both in terms of the show and in terms of the traveller experience. Check out our video for the beginning.
Thirty international travellers joined a number of Ukrainian travellers to explore Lviv. A city known for its baroque architecture and rich history under Austro-Hungary, Poland and the Soviet Union, where the heart of Ukraine beats stronger than ever today.
We visited the hospital where the wounded come to convalesce or, in more serious cases, have limbs replaced. We visited the ‘new’ cemetery specially for the war dead. Though the war front may be very far from Lviv and the city is bustling, everyone is very much aware of what is happening a thousand kilometers to the East.
We also visited a military cemetery with sadly many fresh graves in order to pay a tribute to fallen soldiers.
… and did some cultural sightseeing which are plenty in Lviv.
The Night of the 2023 Awards
We were happy to be able to put on a show that took people’s mind off the negativity of war, while also giving work to a whole team of people. The technical group had to ensure the specifications so that the live show could be streamed through YouTube without any glitches.
Check out the recording by the way.
The catering team, supervised by our event manager Olha, needed to shine plates and crockery and get the tables set with the appropriate name tags and especially designed Nomadmania Travel Awards 2023 welcome bags, featuring goodies promoting Lviv. And the award presenters had a lot of rehearsing to do in order to make sure their lines were not muddled.
The NomadMania team had to ensure a seamless show. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Eurovision Song Contest 2010 representative Alyosha joined in the rehearsals for the musical interval part of the show.
As for the guests? They were encouraged to dress up if they wanted, especially the ladies.
The awards took place in a bunker which is part of a repurposed former factory area. Safety was always our paramount concern in the event of shelling or air raid alarms, even though these occur relatively rarely in Lviv.
However, once the place was transformed with the elegant tables and the starters all laid out, and once the guests arrived, it no longer felt like a bunker at all. It was a real gala event with all the usual trappings, and ladies in impressive dresses were happy to pose with their drinks in from of huge NomadMania banners.
The show started promptly at 6 pm with a quick review of our last two award ceremonies and the faces of many travellers from our community on the screen. And then, once hosts Palle Bo, Lucy Hsu and Harry Mitsidis started the proceedings, a short video of the 5-day trip to the East was shown.
A video of devastation and hope, recounting a monumental trip – the first traveller group to venture to the East since the war began.
A key moment was when Mikola Podrezan, a Ukrainian wheelchair-bound traveller shared the stage to tell of his journey along with 2022 award winner in the Against All Odds Category Renee Bruns.
The award was given this year to Houston Vandergriff, who despite having Downs Syndrome has made it a life goal to travel and experience the world. Awards were given to people from all over the world, including Fadi Assi from Syria as Most Trusted Local Fixer and Maliha Fairooz as Best Low Passport Index Traveller.
When Alyosha took to the stage, the attendees were cheerful and dancing happily.
Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, legend Rauli Virtanen, sent a message of world peace. By the end of the evening when everyone present was invited to the stage, the feeling was that something significant had been achieved.
Thank you to the following participants who joined our tour:
- Sean Brannan 🇬🇧
- Gustav Sorensen🇩🇰
- Allan Have Larsen 🇩🇰
- Khadija Musa 🇰🇪
- Orest Zub 🇺🇦
- Lee Sandberg 🇺🇸
- Per Besson 🇺🇸
- Slawek Muturi 🇵🇱
- Harry Mitsidis 🇬🇷
- Lucy Hsu 🇺🇸
- Dondon Bales 🇵🇭
- Max Leyerer🇦🇹
- Boris Kester 🇳🇱
- Kim Borup Frederiksen 🇩🇰
- Harris Legome 🇺🇸
- Nick Zoa 🇺🇸
- Edward Hotchkiss 🇺🇸
- Miguel Rivera 🇺🇸
- Palle Bo 🇩🇰
- Tony Xutong Wang 🇨🇳🇦🇺
- Reiner Elgetz 🇩🇪
- Laerke Helene Ehlers Mikkelsen 🇩🇰
- Mette Ehlers Mikkelsen 🇩🇰
- Kasia Szaniawska 🇵🇱
- Anne-Sophie Redisch🇳🇴
- Marta Trotsiuk🇺🇦
- Petro Marais 🇿🇦
- Ildiko Szabo🇭🇺
- Maurizio Giuliano 🇮🇹
- Artem Golubchak🇺🇦
- Andriy Pavliv🇺🇦
- Marian Striltsiv🇺🇦
- Vitaliy Kulyk🇺🇦
- Kirill Rudnev🇺🇦
- Oleksii Zozulia Олексій🇺🇦
- Taras Yatsenko🇺🇦
- Yulia Katynska🇺🇦
- Olga Muntian🇺🇦
- Ljudmila Titartsjuk🇺🇦
- Mykola Podrezan🇺🇦
- Nataliia Griaznova🇺🇦
- Vita Gavryshenko🇺🇦
- Dmytro Koshelyuk🇺🇦
- Maria Koshelyuk🇺🇦
- Serhii Rykhtik🇺🇦
- Olha Dobrova🇺🇦
- Oksana Malyshevska🇺🇦
The participants of the Nomadmania Travel Awards 2023 received our Nomadmania “Participants of Events” badge on their profiles in recognition of their involvement in our events.
It was not just another Awards show; it was an Award show in Ukraine, showing resilience, perseverance and continuity. NomadMania remains committed to supporting and showcasing and we hope to return to another city in Ukraine in 2025, after a year in another setting.
Nomadmania Travel Awards 2024
But wait, there’s more! We’re absolutely thrilled to announce that the 2024 NomadMania Travel Awards will be hosted at the Extraordinary Travel Fest! in Bangkok next November.
This event will be hosted by our friend Ric Gazarian who is Co-Founder & Organizer of the Extraordinary Travel Festival. This is set to be a grand celebration within the fest, marking yet another milestone in our adventurous journey.
We’re buzzing with excitement and can’t wait to see you there. Don’t miss out on this incredible event – make sure to get your tickets here. We’re looking forward to seeing you and celebrating together.